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(Cover Photo courtesy of Caroline Merritt; Author Photo courtesy of Wayne Pelts)

C. F. Library to Host Author Robert Merritt

Clifton Forge, VA (May 13, 2019) - The public is cordially invited to spend an evening with author and poet Robert Merritt. His program will be held in the Michael Armstrong Community Room of the Clifton Forge Public Library. It will begin at 6:00 p.m., on Thursday, May 30.

Dr. Merritt’s current book of poetry, “View from Blue-Jade Mountain,” was released in February.

Author Jeff Daniel Marion writes in his book review that the poems in Merritt’s latest collection “are poised on that fine and tenuous line between the immediacy of the present and the hauntingly rich enormity of the past. ‘What can we hold on to in the fire of flux?’ one poem asks while another suggests ‘. . . we always walk on holy ground. The landscape is awash with stars.’”

Author Jesse Graves states in his review that “Merritt is a master of making connections not previously seen, between experiences, places, diverse art forms, and friends who have lost touch.” He continues, “Merritt knows and speaks in the hard language of precise images,” whether in a tender love poem or a devoted place poem.

Author Diane Allerdyce writes in her review that Merritt infuses his “profound relationship with his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the philosophical landscapes of China to create a many-layered terrain of exquisite light and beauty.” She continues, “Merritt’s imagery sings with nostalgia and compassion. There is also humor, albeit sometimes a humor tinged with sadness . . .”

“Above all,” Allerdyce concludes her review, “Merritt’s remarkable collection invokes a sense of hope in love’s resilience and in poetry’s power to take us home.”

Dr. Merritt is the author of two additional volumes of poetry: “Landscape Architect;” and, “The Language of Longing.” The power of place and the continual search for home are recurrent themes in these two books.

About “The Language of Longing,” Dr. Merritt says, “The longing is for the longing to continue.  Desire is life.” He continues, “One great pleasure I find in writing is to discover and invent pattern – in this case, of my wandering.”

He is also the author of “Early Music and the Aesthetics of Ezra Pound,” which incorporates his interest in the interrelationship of the arts with literature.

Dr. Merritt carries a zeal for writing. He believes that each person has the power to shape his or her life and that, “Often, writing can be a great help.” To that end, he is a board member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy and offers workshops on the healing power of expressive writing.

Dr. Merritt grew up in North Carolina, received a B.A and M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina, and a Ph.D from the University of Kentucky. He is the Chair of the English Department, a professor of English, and the director of the Honors Program at Virginia’s Bluefield College. He is also the faculty advisor of “The Bluestone Review,” the college literary magazine he founded in 1992. He has taught poetry in China and is a board member of the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation.

Dr. Merritt has a link to Clifton Forge that pulls him to the area – his mother was born in Clifton Forge as were other members of his family who also owned local businesses. His program will include family history that weaves into his “View from Blue-Jade Mountain.”

Dr. Merritt’s program will conclude with a book signing.

Copies of “The Language of Longing” and “View from Blue-Jade Mountain” will be available for purchase.

Admission is free.

Light refreshments will be provided.

The Clifton Forge Public Library is located at 535 Church Street.

For information on any library program, call 863-2519.

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